Bishops’ Statement on Climate Justice

October 26, 2018

Catholic Continental Bishops’ Conferences have united in calling for “ambitious and immediate action” against climate change. Inspired by the message of Laudato Si’ and progress toward its fulfillment, leaders of the Church are asking political decision-makers to achieve real progress at the UN climate talks to be held this December in Katowice, Poland.

Their call is founded in the principles of urgency, intergenerational justice, and human dignity and rights. They stress the urgent need to act on the wealth of knowledge science offers us, transforming information into concrete actions and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. For these leaders and for all the Church, climate change is a matter of justice, and the bishops say that short-sightedness an “unacceptable injustice” inflicted on the young, who will inherit the planet, and the most vulnerable, who are the most affected by climate change.

The bishops call for specific policy changes. They urge decision-makers to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, calling this issue “a matter of life or death for vulnerable countries and people living in coastal areas.” They are also call for an “end to the fossil fuel era,” a “deep and durable shift towards sustainable lifestyles,” and systemic transformation in areas finance, agriculture, and respect for indigenous communities, which “offer valuable solutions for the care and sustainable management of natural resource.”

The bishops renew their commitment to bringing Laudato Si’ to life within their own institutions. Echoing the message of Laudato Si’, the bishops write, “We firmly believe that this ecological conversion is also a spiritual challenge . . . Ultimately, this is key to the survival of humankind.”